Expansion FC Cincinnati opened its MLS existence in rather good form. Then the squad faced the Philadelphia Union, and things have been rough ever since.
Trying to halt a five-game winless stretch that began against the Union in late March, Cincinnati once again faces a difficult task against Philadelphia on Wednesday night in Chester, Pa.
Cincinnati (2-5-2, eight points) was sitting 2-1-1, owners of a 7-5 scoring advantage, when it hosted Philadelphia on March 30. When the final whistle sounded, a 47th-minute goal from Marco Fabian and
David Accam's score in the 58th minute gave the Union (4-3-2, 14 points) a 2-0 victory.
Beginning with that meeting, Cincinnati has been outscored 9-1 during an 0-4-1 rut. It hit the woodwork three times Saturday, but was blanked for a third consecutive match, 1-0 by the New York Red Bulls. That result ran Cincinnati's goal drought to 341 minutes.
"Luck just isn't going our way right now in terms of putting the ball in the back of the net," veteran forward Darren Mattocks, who scored the team's most recent goal in the 19th minute of a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City on April 7, told Cincinnati's official website.
"This is a low point in the season for us in terms of goal productivity, but we've just got to stay on course."
Philadelphia, meanwhile, has remained solid since beating Cincinnati. The Union are 4-1-1 after earning just one point from their first three contests. Kacper Przybylko's equalizer in the 66th minute enabled Philadelphia to claim a 1-1 draw at Vancouver on Saturday.
"It's been a very good start to the season for this group," coach Jim Curtin told Philadelphia's official website. "We've challenged them to take a step forward.
"It's been a challenging situation on and off the field for us this year with suspensions, injuries. Really give full credit to the strength of this roster."
Making matters tougher for Cincinnati, the Union have outscored their opponents 8-1 during a three-game home winning streak. They last won four straight there in 2017.